Exterior Design and Ergonomics
Following the latest fashion, the notebook’s dark-blue lid is covered with a generous layer of lacquer, which gives it a very impressive appearance. The downside is that dust and greasy fingerprints will be perfectly visible on such a nice glossy surface. You must get a special napkin and clean the notebook regularly to keep it tidy. You can see the silvery color of the top surface of the notebook’s body glimpsing between the black lid and bottom.
There is a large logo of the manufacturer in the center of the lid.
The notebook doesn’t have a display lock. The lid is held shut by the stiff hinges hidden in the screen bezel. You can unfold the notebook by somewhat less than 180 degrees.
The notebook’s front panel offers the following components (from left to right):
- 4-pin FireWire port
- Card-reader supporting Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMedia Card, Secure Digital, Mini Secure Digital and xD-Picture Card
- Wireless On/Off slider together with activity indicator
Opening the notebook up, you can see the classic mix of a black top and a silvery bottom. The notebook’s body resembles a sandwich: silvery plastic, the same color as the keyboard and touchpad, is laid on the black glossy surface underneath.
There is a 1.3-megapixel web-camera together with an activity indicator above the screen. The camera cannot be turned around, so you should orient it by tilting the notebook’s lid as necessary. To the left of the camera block there is a hole of the integrated monophonic microphone. There are rubber pads on the screen bezel for softer contact between the lid and the notebook’s body.
The Satellite U300-111 is equipped with a widescreen 13.3-inch LCD matrix that has an aspect ratio of 16:10 (WXGA). Its native resolution is 1280x800 pixels. The viewing angles of the matrix seem to be sufficiently wide. It has a glossy coating that makes the image brighter and more saturated but also acts as a mirror, reflecting every bright object behind your back.
We measured the brightness and contrast of the notebook’s display using a Pantone ColorVision Spyder with OptiCAL version 3.7.8 software. We had selected the highest brightness setting before this test and the power-saving technologies did not affect the notebook’s display when it switched to the battery.
AC power source:
- 130.1cd/sq.m brightness, 39:1 contrast ratio
DC power source:
- 131.0cd/sq.m brightness, 40:1 contrast ratio
There are status indicators on the notebook’s front panel. They are visible irrespective of the position of the lid.
- DC IN (alight when the notebook is connected to the mains)
- Power (blue when the notebook is turned on and orange when in standby mode)
- Battery (blinking orange when the battery charge is low; shining orange when the battery is being recharged; shining blue when the battery is charged and the notebook is connected to the mains; off in every other case)
- HDD (alight when the hard disk is being accessed)
- Card-reader activity
We should confess the battery indicator didn’t report low battery charge for some reason and the notebook would shut down rather suddenly.
In the left part of the front panel there is a Satellite logo shining in rich blue when the notebook is turned on.